Pandemic Journal

I STARTED KEEPING a daily diary that centered on the Coronavirus pandemic in late February, 2020. It is a personal record of my days, which often include impacts of Covid-19, although to date I have been fortunate not to encounter the virus directly.

 

I also write down one or more news headlines most days,  something that strikes me. And because I was reading Daniel Defoe's "Journal of the Plague Year," in the early days of my journal, I sometimes quote from Defoe's 1721 work, passages that resonate, often eerily, nearly 300 years later.

Pandemic journalvol1.jpg
Journal of the Pandemic 1.jpg

EARLY DAYS: Increasing awareness of the coronavirus

NINE PAGES, NINETEEN DAYS OF CORONAVIRUS: We follow the shocking news in Italy, cancel our forthcoming trip there and drive from Southern California to our home in Bellingham, Washington -- as everything changes.

February 24 to March 13, below.

The virus hits Italy full force
The virus hits Italy full force

By late February, we realize we'll have to cancel our spring trip to Italy

press to zoom
Anxiety, apprehension
Anxiety, apprehension
press to zoom
Parliamo del virus in Italia
Parliamo del virus in Italia
press to zoom
Covid-19 in Washington State
Covid-19 in Washington State
press to zoom
Last cafe for a long while
Last cafe for a long while
press to zoom
Lockdown in all of Italy
Lockdown in all of Italy
press to zoom
Back home: stocking up
Back home: stocking up
press to zoom
No hugs or handshakes
No hugs or handshakes
press to zoom
Fauci: Flatten the curve
Fauci: Flatten the curve
press to zoom

INTO MARCH: Canceled, closed, stay home

EIGHTEEN MORE DAYS OF MARCH : The governor orders restaurants and bars closed, and cancels events and large gatherings. "Stay home, stay safe," is the watchword. Covid-19 hits too close to home with my son's sickness. Donald Trump's lies are appalling. We develop a new vocabulary and adopt new habits, deal with shortages of toilet paper and flour, follow the horrendous situation in New York City and a super-spreader event nearby. We have trouble sleeping. Bird sightings offer a brief respite.

March 14 to March 31, below.

Exponential growth
Exponential growth

I wonder if 16 pairs of white cotton gloves will add a layer of protection.

press to zoom
It's happening so quickly
It's happening so quickly

Restaurants and bars ordered to close in various states and cities: Ohio, Illinois, California, Washington.

press to zoom
Closed, canceled
Closed, canceled

St. Patrick's parades are cancelled in Boston, Dublin, Chicago. Bars and restaurants closed in many cities and states, including Washington.

press to zoom
Testing....
Testing....

Friends and family around us, affected by the pandemic

press to zoom
Fear
Fear

A scary brush with the virus: Zak has symptoms of Covid-19 (but can't be tested).

press to zoom
A bad dream?
A bad dream?

Our 90-year-old neighbor expresses our own thoughts: "Is this all a bad dream?"

press to zoom
A profound silence
A profound silence

Shops and restaurants close; signs go up. "Closed until things get better"

press to zoom
Lies, lies, lies
Lies, lies, lies

Trump: "It's like a miracle -- it will disappear."; "We have a tremendous testing set-up." "Anyone who needs a test gets a test."

press to zoom
Vocabulary of the pandemic
Vocabulary of the pandemic

The words and expressions that we use so often now, in Italy and in the U.S.

press to zoom
"Stay at home, stay healthy"
"Stay at home, stay healthy"

With this phrase, Governor Inslee ramps it up.

press to zoom
What we experience
What we experience

Common problems: we can't concentrate or sleep well. We wake in the night and think we have symptoms of the virus.

press to zoom
Food in the pandemic
Food in the pandemic

We order food to be delivered, for the first time ever. Going "out" for coffee means bringing a thermos of coffee to drink in the car.

press to zoom
How to shop and eat
How to shop and eat

The stress of shopping with masks, gloves, wipes, hand-washing and surgical instructions. The comfort of homemade food.

press to zoom
Overwhelmed in NYC
Overwhelmed in NYC

Bodies are hauled away in refrigerated trucks, the modern version of the Plague Year's death carts

press to zoom
Bird sightings
Bird sightings

Amid the lies from Trump about how all will be well by Easter, we watch a large variety of birds from our window.

press to zoom

APRIL & MAY:  How will we deal with this?

MASKS, TIME, NUMB-ERS, WORRIES : We start wearing masks all the time. No one comes in our house. I meet with friends, visit grandkids, take classes in Italian and Tai Chi, observe Passover -- all on Zoom. The numbers of the dead are overwhelming. Roy gets sick and we worry that it's Covid-19. Protesters rail against the governor's stay-at-home order. We drink coffee and eat sweets in the afternoon to try to cheer ourselves. I have a record number of migraines. Trump holds a rally at the Lincoln Memorial and tells states to open up as fast as they can. Toilet paper ordered a month ago arrives from China. A shocking 100,000 people die from Covid in the U.S. George Floyd is killed by police in Minneapolis and protests break out across the country.

April and May, 2020, below.

The Queen speaks
The Queen speaks

"...while we may still have more to endure, better days will return..."

press to zoom
Un-presidented
Un-presidented

Unprecedented takes on a double meaning

press to zoom
What you can do at home
What you can do at home

Taking classes in your pajamas really isn't that great.

press to zoom
Blaming the governor
Blaming the governor

Protesters and Trump criticize Governor Inslee

press to zoom
Masks, pros and cons
Masks, pros and cons

CDC reverses its position on masks and now recommends cloth masks

press to zoom
More Trump insanity
More Trump insanity

He suggests that injecting disinfectant could kill Covid-19 inside the body!

press to zoom
Death tolls.
Death tolls.

50,000 dead in U.S. Before I finish the page, it's 60,000.

press to zoom
Worried sick
Worried sick

Roy gets sick and is tested for Covid-19. It takes four days to find out the test is negative.

press to zoom
Tearing the country apart
Tearing the country apart

Trump rallies at the Lincoln Memorial; we feel depressed.

press to zoom
Wishful thinking
Wishful thinking

Whether in Italian or in English, the virus doesn't care what you think

press to zoom
Chinese toilet paper
Chinese toilet paper

The toilet paper arrives from China; an expert says the virus "may never go away."

press to zoom
Nostalgia for the recent
Nostalgia for the recent

We experience nostalgia for things done just months ago. "Remember February, when we went out to breakfast?"

press to zoom
Wait and See
Wait and See

But our perception of time has become so warped.

press to zoom
100,000 U.S. deaths
100,000 U.S. deaths

Marking a few of the many lives lost to the coronavirus

press to zoom
George Floyd is killed
George Floyd is killed

The horrible week.

press to zoom